Liverpool Transfer News: Mario Balotelli Price Cut Reported, Latest Reds Rumours

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2016

TURIN, ITALY - JANUARY 26:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan looks on during the TIM Cup match between US Alessandria and AC Milan at Olimpico Stadium on January 26, 2016 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Liverpool are reportedly willing to let AC Milan buy Mario Balotelli for just £5.5 million this summersubstantially less than his reported £16 million fee, per BBC Sportbut even that cut-price offer is more than the Rossoneri are prepared to pay.  

According to Italian outlet Calciomercato (h/t Liam Corless of the Daily Mirror), Milan are unwilling to keep the striker beyond his loan deal in the summer.

After struggling to make a positive impact at Anfield following his arrival in the summer of 2014, the Italy international was allowed to return to Serie A on loan.

Italian football writer Adam Digby noted at the start of the season that the 25-year-old has the chance to shine for his national side, provided he is willing to put the work in and recapture his earlier form:

Balotelli scored on his first start for the Rossoneri in September, but he soon endured a torrid time after suffering a hernia injury that required surgery.

In December, his compatriot, Marco Verratti, neatly summed up his situation, per journalist David Amoyal:

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The striker returned to action in January and once again scored in his first start—the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final against Alessandria—coolly tucking away a penalty to win the game 1-0, though he also missed a golden opportunity to score another.

Balotelli has long been a source of frustration, with his enormous potential so frequently wasted due to problems with his attitude and level of application. 

Due to his injury, it's unfair to judge him on his goal tally so far this season. However, if Balotelli can stay fit and is determined to rediscover his form, Milan may well be prepared to take him on board permanently—or perhaps he may have a future at Anfield after all.

Jon Super/Associated Press

The Reds have also had problems with another of their strikers, Daniel Sturridge, as the Englishman is proving to be a proverbial glass cannon. The former Chelsea forward is a proven and prolific goalscorer, but he has seen his career blighted by injuries—particularly in the last two seasons.

According to the Guardian's Gerard Meagher, Newcastle United are prepared to gamble £30 million to bring Sturridge to St. James' Park in a record deal this summer.

The 26-year-old has netted 45 times for Liverpool in 73 outings, but football writer Dave O'Connell revealed why the Magpies may want to think twice about splashing the cash:

Kevin Palmer of the Sunday World believes now might be the time for the Reds to part ways with Sturridge, a view O'Connell can understand:

With Michael Owen's frustrating injury problems likely to still be fresh in the minds of the Toon Army, Sturridge's arrival on Tyneside wouldn't likely be welcomed unless he came fairly cheap and earned his wages based on appearances made.

Ultimately, though, even if the striker does decide to move on from Liverpool—which he may not—he could probably attract a bigger club to take a risk on him than Newcastle.